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Posted 5/01/13 (Wed)


One thing I have noticed over the years. As men age, their memory of how good they were at sports tends to improve. I guess I don’t mean their memory improves, but they remember themselves as faster, stronger, and smarter. Their per-game scoring goes up exponentially with age. Their tackles are quicker and surer. Their speed in the 40-yard dash improves. Why heck, by the time a guy is 65, he feels he could try out for an NFL team, even though he was second string on his high school team.
Or maybe it’s just me. What brings this to mind is a meeting Shirley was at a couple of days ago. A gentleman came up to her and said he had been anxious to meet her for a number of years. Because, as he put it, “Your husband ruined my life!” But since he said it with a smile, Shirley replied, “He pretty much ruined mine, too!” But, I’m sure they were both joking.
But Shirley had to ask what had happened. And it goes back to old guys in sports. The local veterinarian sponsored a basketball team in the city league. For a number of years, he had heard me bragging about my high school basketball days. Usually I brag toward the end of happy hour. Well, he kept urging me to join his ball team.
Finally, it worked out. My schedule was going to allow me a night off a week to play ball. But we ran into a problem. The games didn’t start until nine o’clock. By now, you know that is way past my bedtime. But I agreed to play.
Well, since my day was pretty well done, I packed up my gear and headed to happy hour at four. It lasted longer than an hour. After a couple of hours, I took a cab to an establishment closer to the ball game. And spent another couple of hours.
I showed up at the gym just as the team was warming up. Much to my dismay, somewhere between four and nine, I had, like a racehorse, thrown a shoe. No problem. I would go up against these amateurs in my stocking feet. It did affect my ability to dunk the ball, but I was already a little weak there.
Well, since I had never paid my league dues, the coach signed me up under one of his missing players name. Which, in most cases would not have mattered. In most cases.
The coach was wise enough not to start me. And since I wasn’t playing, I quickly began giving constructive criticism to the referees! I guess the first warning should have sufficed, but you know how I am. I had to see if he meant it.
He did. I was ejected from the game before I ever got in. Which leads to the guy whose life I ruined. The gentleman whose name the coach had signed me up under. A week later, he gets a letter from the park board. Due to his undue criticism of the volunteer referees, his verbal assault on certain people, and his foul language, he was suspended from the league for three weeks!
I don’t suppose it ruined his life entirely. Not as bad as it tarnished my bragging rights at happy hour. And I still wonder how in the heck I lost that shoe.